They struck elegant poses and maneuvered classic steps that left UAE audience spellbound. Dancers par excellence would be an understatement, because they were all differently abled. Four girls and five boys performed classic dance forms sitting on their wheelchairs.
Speaking to 'Emirates24|7', Guru Sayed Salahuddin Pasha, said their first performances in the UAE- at the Tamil Sangham and Indian Association in Al Ain - have been well received and the troupe will return for more performances.
Ability Unlimited, a New Delhi-based voluntary organisation that work with physically challenged has trained about 150 people - deaf and dumb; mentally retarded;and hearing impaired; among others. They perform Bharatnatyam on Wheels, Sufi Dance on Wheels, Kathakali on Wheels, Ramayana on Wheels, Yoga on Wheels and Martial Arts on Wheels.
"Performing classical dances such as Bharatnatyam or martial arts on a wheel chair or using a crutch is not easy. We have given over 10,000 stage performances in India and the world over. This is our first time in the UAE. A wheelchair is like a chariot for me and my artists. The physically challenged people are very talented."
There are several million physically challenged people in India and Guru Sayed's effort is to broaden the world of the differently abled artists.
“They don’t need any backstage assistance to put on their costumes and they are very independent people,” he added.
Guru Sayed is a healthy and well-built person but uses a wheelchair to train dancers.
Differently abled children are selected from poor families in Indian villages, provided free education, food and other facilities at the ashram run by the organisation.
His first production, Ramayana on Wheel, had 300 disabled artists on stage.
He proudly says there are world record winners in his troupe. Gulshan Kumar, 22, who made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.